In their last 14 games against their American League East Division opponents the Baltimore Orioles had gone 3-11. They desperately needed to gain ground in the division and playoff race tonight in the second game of a three game series against division foes the Toronto Blue Jays. The long ball came into play tonight which should not be surprising due to the fact that the Orioles lead the Majors in hitting home runs at home since 2015. It would lead to a 5-3 Orioles victory to force a rubber game.
Starting his second game in place for injured ace Chris Tillman in the rotation tonight, Orioles veteran right-handed pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez held his own tonight but one bad pitch in the seventh inning, which gave up a tying two-run home run, would cost him a win and earn him only a no decision. He would finish the night with six and two-thirds of an inning pitched, giving up three runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts. All of the Orioles runs tonight came on home runs by Steve Pearce with solo homer in the fifth off of Happ, Manny Machado with a two-run homer also in the fifth and off of Happ, and then Matt Wieters hit what would end up being the game winning two-run homer in the eighth off Blue Jays reliever Jason Grilli. Machado’s home run would cap a few milestones as he became the youngest (24 years, 55 days surpassing Eddie Murray- 24 years, 177 days) and the 3rd fastest (578 games, 1st- Boog Powell 564 games, 2nd- Chris Hoiles 577 games) Oriole to reach 100 career home runs. He is also the 3rd Oriole with 10 home runs in the month of August.
Blue Jays veteran lefty J.A. Happ had defeated the Orioles the two times he had faced them this season and was coming off a loss in his previous start against the Los Angeles Angels. Tonight though he would only earn a no decision pitching six and one-third of an inning, giving up three runs on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts. This season coming into tonight Michael Saunders had been destroying Oriole pitching, batting .420 with five homers and 12 RBI’s. Despite a sore left hamstring Saunders would continue that dominance with a double and a two-run homer in the seventh that tied the game 3-3. The other Blue Jay run came from Kevin Pillar earlier in the second inning with an RBI single; he went 2-for-3 on the night.
Winning pitcher for Baltimore was reliever Brad Brach who improves to 8-2 on the season and the losing pitcher for Toronto was reliever Grilli who drops to 5-4 on the season. Zach Britton recorded his 39th save of the season out of 39 attempts, staying perfect on the season. A rubber game will be played Wednesday at 7:00 PM/ET. Starting pitchers will be: Aaron Sanchez (TOR 12-2 2.99 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (BAL 4-6 5.69 ERA).
About the Author
Written by Brendan Keelan
Former High School and College athlete (football, Wesley College).